Washington politicians beat war drums to prod confrontation with China

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) transits through the South China Sea on Jan 12, 2023 US Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) transits through the South China Sea on Jan 12, 2023 US Navy Photo

While politicians in Washington continue to beat war drums, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) began operating in the South China Sea on Jan. 12 for the first time during the group’s 2022-2023 deployment.

“The headline here could have been ‘United States goads China to invade Taiwan so three business partners can fight’ because the US is China’s biggest customer,” said Lisa McCormick, who noted that China is Taiwan’s biggest customer with the US as second.

“After Canada and Mexico, China is the third largest buyer of US goods,” said McCormick. “Taiwan’s problems cannot be solved by war so while military moves injected a cloud of uncertainty into the Chinese economy any war between the two superpowers could engulf the world in a nuclear nightmare. Instead of trying to bully China, the US should exert influence as its biggest customer.”

Senator Bob Menendez and Lisa McCormick, his 2018 primary challenger, are Democrats with very different views about how to preserve world peace.

While in the South China Sea, the strike group is conducting maritime strike training, anti-submarine operations, integrated multi-domain and joint training between surface and air elements, and flight operations with fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Pentagon officials stressed that carrier operations in the South China Sea are part of the U.S. Navy’s routine operations but the new Republican majority in Congress—with support from most Democrats— is already engaged in a war of words.

Following a struggle with gridlock over the election of the new speaker, Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives and promptly voted to create a new Congressional Select Committee on China aiming to vilify Beijing’s authoritarian Communist Party regime, which has become increasingly repressive in recent years.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s pick to lead the new committee, Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, has vowed to “win the new Cold War” against China.

The final tally vote was 365 in favor and 65 opposed, with all Republicans and 146 Democrats joining them to back the panel without commenting on the same officials’ predilection to create for decades critical economic dependencies on China.

“That vote followed an amendment to new record high US military spending bill, which was proposed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who spiked it with $10 billion to start a war with China over Taiwan,” said McCormick.

Included in the bloated National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY23. was a bipartisan amendment Menendez proposed, called the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act (TERA), which was called a deliberate and dangerous provocation by the People’s Republic of China.

“If any of these characters really cared about what is important to Americans, they would not have shipped our jobs overseas or borrowed so much from the Communists,” said McCormick, who noted that in May 2022, China’s portfolio of U.S. government debt dropped below $1 trillion for the first time since 2010.

“Today, Taiwan is one of the biggest investors in China and the value of cross-strait trade was $166 billion in 2020,” said McCormick, who argues that American policy should prioritize peace by encouraging the communist government to elevate human rights instead of driving wedges between the East and West.

The United States Navy also deployed in a “freedom of navigation” operation that transited the Taiwan Strait, an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyer named in honor of Rear Admiral Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon.

“The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has the capability to deliver integrated lethal and non-lethal effects from space to undersea, across every axis, and every domain,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. “Our Sailors’ tenacity and warfighting prowess are unmatched and a testimony to our country’s determination to work alongside our Allies and partners to maintain free and open seas.”

The CSG 11 staff is embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG 108), the squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW 17), and the staffs of Destroyer Squadron Nine (DESRON 9) are attached to the strike group and provide what the Pentagon claims is unparalleled firepower across all domains – air, sea, and land.

The squadrons that comprise CVW 17 are the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 (VFA 22), “Mighty Shrikes” of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 (VFA 94), “Kestrels” of Strike Fighter Squadron 137 (VFA 137), “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron 146 (VFA 146), “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron 139 (VAQ 139), “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 (VAW 116), “Battlecats” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 (HSM 73) and the “Screamin’ Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 (HSC 6).

The strike group remains committed to protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea, and upholding the rules-based international order alongside Allies and partners. CSG 11 demonstrates the ability to deliver overwhelming maritime force if called upon.

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is conducting routine operations currently underway in the 7th Fleet, the U.S. Navy‘s largest forward-deployed numbered armada, interacting and operating with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“When the Republican majority in Congress starts looking for draconian cuts in health care, education, child nutrition programs, clean air and water, and good family-sustaining jobs, citizens should demand that they explain why they obeyed their corporate donors by making the U.S. ridiculously dependent on a country that shares almost no social values with the majority of Americans and has an oppressive political system.”

“More than 70 percent of pharmaceutical active ingredients used in the U.S. market are produced overseas,” said Lisa McCormick, a progressive Democrat who has criticized corporate control over the economy, which she said has diminished the quality of life for most Americans and tainted the integrity of our democracy. “Almost all of the ibuprofen sold here comes from China.”

“Acetaminophen, antibiotics, and high blood pressure treatments are among a multitude of pharmaceutical ingredients predominantly made in China but American politicians have expressed concerns about the supply of medicines only now that the situation has become dire,” said McCormick.

Chinese multinational technology company Baidu, which is one of the largest Internet services and artificial intelligence companies in the world, could make a bid to buy buys Google.

Included in the bloated National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) approved last month was a Menendez amendment that was cited as a deliberate and dangerous provocation by the People’s Republic of China, which harassed Taiwan with dozens of military fighter aircraft in response.

Instead of trying to start a war, McCormick said Menendez and other policymakers

Since the time of Republican President Richard Nixon, China was being groomed to become a low-cost producer for U.S. multinational corporations but Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican President George Bush pursued schemes in the late 1980s and 1990s, which culminated in a mass exodus of jobs after China joined the World Trade Organization.

“The opportunity to insist on freedom and democratic reforms was before cutting labor costs in order to maximize shareholder profits became imperative.

For corporate America, the easiest way to cut labor costs was to cut jobs by moving production to China.

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